Title: The Little Captain
(The Little Captain #1-3)
Author: Paul Biegel
Illustrator: Carl Hollander
Translator: Patricia Crampton
Genre: Children, Fantasy
First published: 1970
Publisher: Pushkin Children’s Books
Finished reading: May 12th 2022
(Originally written in Dutch: ‘De Kleine Kapitein’)
“They went to have a look around, because before you go to sleep on an uninhabited island, you ought to find out if it really is uninhabited.”
*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Pushkin Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***
I must have read multiple books by Paul Biegel back when I was little… While I don’t remember if I actually read the adventures of The Little Captain in Dutch back then, I thought this new release of the English translation was the perfect excuse to try one of his books as an adult. What I didn’t realize was that this version is actually a bundle including all three books: The Little Captain, The Little Captain And The Seven Towers and The Little Captain And The Pirate Treasure. Not that I’m complaining of course, because it ment that I was able to read all three stories in one go! And I can definitely see why I enjoyed his books when I was younger, because this is a great story for both young and old.
The Little Captain takes place mainly at sea, where the little captain and three other children (Podgy Plum, Marinka and Timid Thomas) have adventures while navigating a little boat called the Neversink. It’s a fantasy world without too many details so it’s easy for children to use their imagination; the little illustrations included in the story a nice touch to help give an idea what the main characters and their adventures look like. I can imagine the writing being really appealing to the target group, and I liked the variety in personalities of the main characters; this will once again help children relate to them more easily.
Like I mentioned before, you actually get all three original The Little Captain stories in this bundle. The first one will take you to the island of Evertaller, a volcano island and a misty city; all three locations for adventures that are both fun and just suspenseful enough to keep children fully engaged. Then it’s time for book number two, with a sea garden, the Land Of Nonsense And Knowledge with seven towers and hard labors, an enchanted ship and another island. Last but not least, book three will be all about the treasure and their travels to return it to its owners. The first is probably my favorite, but all three are very entertaining to read.
In short, if you are looking for a fun children’s book that mixes adventures and a drop of suspense with humor, this translation of a Dutch children’s classic is a great choice. Come join the little captain on board of his Neversink and enjoy exploring the (fictional) sea and islands along with the other characters!